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Last fall Amazon quietly rolled out a new print on demand program called Merch by Amazon. Merch by Amazon was initially designed for app developers who wished to have some print on demand ‘merch’ like t-shirts to sell to the users of their Amazon mobile games. But the good news is that invitations to this new program are open to everyone.

The concept is simple. You upload a t-shirt design to Amazon’s Merch by Amazon platform. You choose the price, colours and sizes you want it to be available in. Once Amazon has approved it, the t-shirt is listed for sale on Amazon.com, a process that usually takes no more than a few hours.

When a t-shirt is sold, Amazon takes a black t-shirt from its warehouse, prints the t-shirt with your design, and then posts this out with prime shipping to the customer. If the cost of the t-shirt was $19.99 to buy, the t-shirt designer gets just over $7 for every t-shirt sold.

Merch by amazon

There is no inventory to buy, no monthly fees to pay and Amazon takes care of all of the shipping and customer service. You get paid automatically once a month straight to your bank account.

Over the past year, entrepreneurs from all over the USA and overseas have been quietly designing art for these new print on demand t-shirts that Amazon is selling on its main Amazon.com website.

At the beginning you are allowed to upload 25 t-shirt designs. You cannot upload any more until you sell at least 25 t-shirts. After this you level up and Amazon will increase the number of designs you can upload.

So how much money can you expect to make?

In my first month on MBA I earned just over $40. In my second month on MBA I earned over $1400. In October I made over $6542 profit with MBA. You can learn more here.And the numbers have continued to increase.

The good news is that you don’t need to be a graphic designer to do this. This opportunity to upload designs for free to one of the biggest online stores in the world is available to everyone.

The type of designs that are successful cover a broad range. You are looking to build on niches that people are really passionate about. Some of my best t-shirts have been created for families, seasonal celebrations like Halloween and Thanksgiving and job professions.

Some successful t-shirts have complex design elements, but many t-shirts are just simple text that passions to the passions or sense of humor of the customer.

If you are looking to start a side hustle, or earn some extra money each month, creating designs for t-shirts and selling them on one of the biggest websites in the world is a great opportunity. Learn more about selling t-shirts on Amazon with the Merch Entrepreneur podcast and get free resources and case studies at the Merch Entrepreneur blog.

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In December 2014 I stumbled across Amazon FBA & private labeling, and was immediately intrigued. Amazon FBA offered me the possibility to grow a global ecommerce business in the USA and Europe, working from my home in Ireland.

10 months later after I started, I have 15 products for sale in 5 countries, and my first 6 figure revenue (not profit) month. My focus was to build this business as large and as fast as possible. But I soon realised that to achieve this goal I needed to get help – I needed a virtual assistant. There was a ton of work to be done.

I had to choose a category, do product research with JungleScout and choose a product. I had to search it wasn’t patented and then look at what Amazons customer liked and disliked about the current products for sale. With that information gathered, then it was off to Alibaba.com to research suppliers, find out who had what I needed get pricing and order in samples.

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Once I had a sample approved, then it was onto creating a list and doing keyword research, writing a great description, bullets and title and taking and editing photos on a white background.

As the launch date approached and my new products were heading by ship or plane to Amazon’s warehouses, then it was focusing on my launch strategy, how to get the first reviews and starting PPC soon after.

And when the product was live, the work didn’t stop! I had to check for hijackers daily, look at my conversion rate, check my PPC to optimise my best performing ads and then think about launching my second product.

There was enough work here to ensure that I never slept!

And because I wanted to scale my business up quickly, I knew the only way it would be possible is if I hired someone to help me. Doing everything myself was going to stop my business scaling quickly.

I wanted to focus on what would be really important – business strategy, growth and expansion, going to Amazon conferences, joining Amazon masterminds, expanding to other countries, starting new brands, creating stronger supplier relationships and selling on other platforms.

There is an outsourcing model I’ve applied to other successful online businesses I have built and sold, so I decided to see if I could apply my virtual assistant model to my new Amazon FBA business.

Here is the list of 15 tasks I needed a VA to help with.

PRODUCT SOURCING:

• Jungle Scout product research
• Patent search
• What people like / dislike about competing products on Amazon
• Find good Alibaba suppliers

PRODUCT LISTING

• Keyword research with keyword inspector
• Write title, description and bullets and keywords for new product listings
• Put white background into product photos

PRODUCT MANAGEMENT WHEN LIVE

• Weekly product listing screenshots
• Weekly monitor voting of bad reviews on Amazon
• Daily hijacker checking
• Weekly inventory tracking
• Ask for European reviews
• Reply to negative product feedback on live product pages
• Customer service emails in USA
• Customer service emails in Europe (English, German, French, Spanish and Italian)

If I could find someone to do all of these tasks for me it would free up my time to do much more important work like.

I’ve hired over 520 people in the last 3 years for various projects on upwork.com so I posted up a job there, and included 5 important questions to use as filters for potential VAs. These included filtering for only those who lived in the Philippines and also included a test for great written English. There is no point hiring a VA with poor written English as you will be spending all day correcting their typos.

In under 24 hours I had 8 excellent job applicants. A few applicants even had experience with some of the Amazon tools that I use like keywordinspector. The next day my VA began work and has literally been a lifesaver ever since. His most important role is answering all customer emails twice a day in 5 different languages. This alone has freed up so much of my time and headspace.

He also does everything I needed from the list above – from finding new products with jungle scout to writing wonderful descriptions using high converting Amazon keywords which he also identified.

Here are some tips to help you get started.

How do I find a VA I can trust? The largest group of VAs are on upwork.com so I would start there. Initially for your first VA, I would recommend to start them with the more simple tasks that do not require an Amazon login. These could include product research with Jungle scout, checking for hijackers daily and looking for new suppliers on Alibaba.com

Should I train someone from the ground up or find someone with Amazon experience? Both have worked really well for me. With the right process it’s actually quite easy to train up a new VA. If they already have experience, that’s a bonus.

How much should I pay? In general you should be able to find a great VA for $3-$4 an hour.

Do I have to start with a fulltime VA? No. A great way to start is with a VA for 10-15 hours per week. As your business grows you can increase their hours.

What are the best Amazon jobs to outsource to free up my time? For me it’s been customer service, product research, inventory management and writing new product listings.

If you are interested in learning more I have put together some online training covering everything you need to know to find, hire, and manage an incredible Amazon VA.

It also includes videos that your new VA can watch to learn how to do all of the tasks listed above. Learn more here.

Are you using a VA in your FBA business? What’s your experience been like? Let me know in the comments.

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